Monday 25th June
We’ll start with a rewind to Tuesday 5th June…..
I had wondered why the queen had gifted us with a Tuesday bank holiday for the jubilee, but I’m glad that she did! We spent the day in bed – asleep! The hounds were glad to snooze the day away – they were very tired, even though they hadn’t had a very energetic holiday with their kind hosts!
We took a week to recover from the jubilee – and we’re still sorting through all the photographs that we’ve received from fellow boaters. As we reminisce and describe the events to friends and acquaintances and total strangers, the whole scale of the event is coming into focus – in some ways it’s more real now than it was when I was on deck getting soaked and bowing to the Queen!
So we’re getting back to proper reality – one where we’re not having to read and action the twice-weekly jubilee briefings 🙂
Lou is responding very well to chemotherapy and we decided to try radiotherapy as well – we hope that this will totally kill the primary tumour in her throat to the point that it won’t recur there. However we must be realistic and accept that the lymphoma will come back somewhere, sometime and that will be the end of her. The radiotherapy is two courses of 5 day days, separated by a 7 – 10 day ‘rest’ period. She started her treatment on Monday 11th and had to spend a week in a specialist animal hospital in Essex – although she’s had a good week, she wasn’t very well when I picked her up last Friday – sadly a harbinger of things to come.
Of course, since I first started writing this post, Poppy has gone….
By Friday night Lou was better, in fact she was spectacularly well earlier this week, but on Wednesday night she suddenly started having trouble swallowing – this has become steadily worse and she is very miserable. The vets agree that it is probably inflammation of her throat/salivary glands – a delayed reaction to the radiotherapy. So, we’ve increased her dose of steroid tablets and she is on antibiotics to treat/prevent a secondary infection as her immune system is pretty low after all this treatment. She has had to miss this weekend’s chemotherapy we’re not sure whether she will be well enough to start the next course of radiotherapy on Monday. I am very worried about her, more worried than the vets, in fact, but I will admit to being tired and emotional after a difficult week.
We have been doing our own research into her condition and have found two very useful links, which I’ll publish here both for our own and other’s reference (though Lou’s form of cancer is typically very rare!):
The articles suggested rinsing her mouth with tea – aha, TEA, the sovereign specific, I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of it before – if it had been a human crisis the kettle would have been on in the first minute! She is quite liking the tea mouth rinses, so maybe there is something in it; she is also liking the home-made honey linctus, which the vet suggested might soothe her throat. I have also made some liver ice-cream (recipe below) – this has been a big hit but I can’t see it catching on at Haagen Das!! Lou was not making any effort to eat or drink (her throat must be very painful) so we’re having to make the effort to tempt her!
Our efforts have been rewarded – at long last she started to perk up today and our Vet was very impressed that Lou has not become dehydrated or lost weight – he has no idea of how hard we’ve worked to achieve that over the weekend 🙂
Looking after Lou has been very intense – not that she’s difficult to nurse, but the twice weekly (minimum) vet visits, the difficult decisions to be made regarding treatment and the attendant self-questioning and worry whether we’re doing the right thing, is very wearing. The intensive phase of Lou’s treatment has another month to run, then, hopefully, she’ll be in remission, the treatments won’t be so drastic and we can enjoy some quality time with her – my first ‘target’ is Lou’s 10th birthday on the 1st October; my fantasy target is summer 2013.
I’ll just remind you again that she is Miss July in Greyhoundhomer’s 2013 calendar (for the 5th year running – go Lou!). Follow this link to Greyhoundhomer and scroll down to buy one – go on, you know you want to, it’s worth £7 just for Lou’s photo – she is posing at the side of picturesque Stoke Hammond lock on the Grand Union!
Although Lou is in the wars with some side-effects now, generally she has tolerated the treatment remarkably well and we must not lose sight of the longer-term goal – the radiologist is confident that, with treatment, she will have a long remission because her cancer is very unusual for a lymphoma, and very localised. Her treatment may buy a year or more in remission – now that would be an achievement.
To be honest, I’ll be glad not to have to cruise for a while and just be able to concentrate on Lou. Maybe for the first time ever, I’m not troubled by the rainfall and its effects on the flow of the Thames or by the impending London Olympic canal lock-down – there’s just too much going on at home….
Liver ice cream:
400g chicken livers, boiled then blended until smooth
Add 150 double cream and whip the mixture until it starts to thicken
Chill the mixture
When cold, transfer the mixture to an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen (took about 10 minutes in my machine)
If you don’t have an ice-cream maker then you can put the mixture into the freezer and stir it every hour or so (to break up any crystals) until it is frozen.